HC Deb 13 March 2003 vol 401 cc415-6W
Mr. Steen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he will take to provide people with dementia requiring long-term care with specialist, trained care staff; and what provision has been made under the free nursing care policy for such provision; [102040]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of his decision to limit the NHS contribution to funding long-term care to the cost of registered nurse time spent providing, delegating and supervising care to people with dementia. [102041]

Jacqui Smith

[holding answer 12 March 2003]In response to comments from the Alzheimer's Society, draft supplementary guidance on national health service funded nursing care, that was issued for consultation on 20 December 2002, highlighted the importance of nurses assessing people's mental health as well as physical health needs, particularly in cases of dementia. This will be reflected in forthcoming guidance.

As far as NHS-funded nursing care is concerned, people with dementia should be treated no differently from people with other conditions. The level of input from a registered nurse is determined at the appropriate level of funding. Care homes that specialise in dementia care may provide more appropriate care for some people with dementia than a care home providing nursing care.

The older people's national service framework (NSF) sets out to ensure that people with dementia have access to integrated mental health services, provided by the NHS and councils, to ensure effective diagnosis, treatment and support for them and for their carers. Work to support implementation of the NSF includes a strand on work force development. There is a dementia subgroup of the older people's care group work force team, and this is looking at the steps that need to be taken to ensure that there are the right skills and numbers of staff in place to care for people with dementia.

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